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Five motorhome tips for beginners

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You’re probably extremely excited about your new motorhome and eager to hit the road, but there are a few things you may need to bear in mind before you set off on your travels. We’ve listed a few tips below to help you prepare for your motorhome adventures.

Don’t put water in the fuel tank or vice versa

Yes, it may sound obvious, but it’s surprisingly easily done!

The best way to avoid a mishap here is to take a moment to check which tank is which before diving straight in with water and fuel. Typically, the water tank in a motorhome will have a blue or white cap and the fuel tank will have a yellow or black one. If you happen to accidentally add the water to the fuel tank you’ll need to contact a motorhome maintenance garage or breakdown service.

If it’s the other way around and you add fuel into the water tank you can drain the fluid into appropriate containers and clean the water tank before filling it up again, we do recommend having this cleaned professionally.

Understand your motorhome electrics

In your motorhome your sockets operate at 203 voltages, however, they won’t work unless you are plugged into electric mains, your home or a campsite facility. This voltage alone is, of course, much less than that supplied to your home, so if you are using your house to power your motorhome your regular household appliances won’t be able to work at the same time.

Investing in lower voltage appliances and a gas kettle can help you avoid blowing a fuse as appliances like kettles, toasters, hairdryers and microwaves use a lot of energy, increasing the chance of tripping the switch.

Most of your electrical appliances will use energy from your 12V DC leisure battery (make sure this is fully charged before setting off on your adventure) and plugging it into the mains activates the mains charger to top up this battery. But if you or your travel buddies fancy a cup of tea while on the road, ensure you don’t exceed the motorhome’s power usage limit or your battery will go flat and the electrical systems won’t work!

With your electrics in mind, it’s worth trying to minimise overall energy and water usage because of the limit in your leisure battery. While you’re on your holiday, it’s best to have quick showers to ensure you don’t drain the hot water tank and the fresh water tank.

Inspect heating controls

Whether you’re travelling in spring, summer, autumn or winter, if it’s around the UK you can have any season in one week! Making sure you are confident using the heating whilst travelling is essential, so it’s wise to get to know the controls beforehand.

Firstly, check your fuel tank is full and either liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or diesel. It can be difficult to know how much is left in the tank, so we recommend weighing it to help. A full propane bottle weighs 15kg and an empty bottle weighs 9kg.

Make sure you’ve got a gas spanner as this is a necessity for swapping over your gas cylinders and get familiar with how to refill; normally in the UK, a bayonet-style attachment is used and you hold down the button until the tank is completely full.

Rehearse before opening night!

As a beginner, getting to know your motorhome and becoming confident and comfortable with the technology may take some time. Familiarising yourself with the basics will put your mind at ease when you set off on your first trip.

Have a practice in your garden and set up your motorhome as you would if you were on a campsite. Have a feel for what works and how to organise your environment for ease of living. If you experience any problems throughout the night, take your time to resolve them, so if they pop up when you’re on your trip, you’ll be better equipped to solve them!

Light and essentials

Just like a regular home, it’s tempting to head straight to the home furnishings aisle and forget the mundane essentials. Before buying the feather pillow or set of four gin glasses, make sure you’ve bought the necessities first.

You’re likely to need things like electricity cables, a hose for your fresh water tank, levelling blocks, and a safety kit etc. and the less bulky and more lightweight, the better.

Bear in mind the limited amount of space you’ll have for non-essentials in your motorhome, most of the space will be taken up for necessities, so pack light or opt for lightweight homeware (circling back to the set of four gin glasses!).

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551